Dubai – Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia won the 2011 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon here today in 2:22.45 to collect the $250,000 prize money. In the men’s category, unknown David Barmasai and Evans Cheruyiot made it a 1-2 finishing affair for Kenya.

Women’s Race

After winning a bronze medal in the IAAF World Championships in Berlin 18 months ago, Mergia said that she suffered, “a lot of leg problems”. They were still evident when she finished clutching her left thigh, which went into spasm immediately afterwards.

But she had held the problems in check long enough to outpace the now veteran Lydia Cheromei of Kenya, who had shocked the athletics world exactly 20 years ago, when she won the World Junior Cross Country title at the tender age of 13.

She eased away from Cheromei with two kilometres to run, and said through an interpreter that it wasn’t until another kilometre later that she knew she would win. Cheromei clocked a personal best by close to three minutes, with 2.23.01. And the Kenyan born former orienteer, Isabella Andersson took another minute and a half off the Swedish record, finishing third in 2.23.40.

Men’s Race

The absence of three times Dubai winner and world marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie left the race wide open, and it was the relatively unknown Barmasai, who was running his first race outside Kenya, who broke clear of the group finishing 59 seconds clear of a resurgent Kenyan compatriot Cheruiyot (2:08:17s) in a career-best time of 2:07:18s.

Eshetu Wendimu (2:08:54) of Ethiopia bravely stayed on for third – the third successive time he has achieved that position in this race.

Leading Results
Place  name /country  time/prize in US$
1  David BARMASAI, KEN, 2.07.18 250k
2   Evans CHERUYIOT, KEN 2.08.17 100k
3   Eshetu WENDIMU, ETH  2.08.54   50k
4  Deressa CHIMSA, ETH  2.09.08   25k
6  Berhanu BEKELE, ETH 2.09.54   14k
9  Dereje TESFAYE, ETH 2.13.26   11k
10  Alebachaw DEBAS, ETH 2.13.39   10k

1   Aselefech MERGIA, ETH 2:22:45 250k
4   Atsede HABTAMU, ETH 2.24.26    25k
5  Atsede BAYISA, ETH 2.25.08   15k
7  Genet GETANEH, ETH 2.27.13   13k
8  Werknesh KIDANE, ETH 2.27.15   12k
10  Feysa BORU, ETH  2.30.23   10k